Orange County has joined with five other counties for a regional Covid 19 testing center at the Southeast Texas Regional Airport in Nederland.
Officials during a press conference Monday afternoon stressed that people will be turned away if they do not have an assigned ID number and an appointment through the local medical hotline.
Hardin County Judge Wayne McDaniel, who led the conference, said the testing will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Tuesday. They hope to get 20 to 25 test swabs a day. The swabs are then sent to labs.
“We have a precious few of those test kits,” he said.
He hopes they get more. If more kits and labs are set up, another regional testing site could be established.
Orange County John Gothia was questioned about an Orange County elected official who held a party on Saturday after an order to restrict the number of people in gatherings.
He said he called the official and the sheriff’s office visited. Gothia said the official dispursed the party at the request of sheriff’s office deputies. She told Gothia she did not realize the restriction applied to private places.
Monday he amended the order to make it more clear, he said.
The counties involved in the regional site are Orange, Newton, Jefferson, Jasper, and Hardin. McDaniel said the counties pooled their resources to get the tests and site together.
The Jefferson County and Newton County judges did not attend because they put themselves in isolation after their wives took the test for Covid 19. Results are not back.
The hotline number that started Friday morning is 409-550-2536. Nurses are answering the lines and taking questions from people about symptoms they have that indicate Covid 19. People who need testing will get a number and an appointment to go to the drive-up site at the airport.
Port Arthur Health Department leaders explained the drive-through procedure. People with test appointments should bring indentifications and if they have insurance, the information.
A law officer will check the person’s ID, appointment time, and assigned test number. People will not be allowed without the appointment.
Step 2 will be triage. Nurses will come to the side of the vehicle where the person to be tested is sitting. The nurses will check temperatures, ask about coughs, and other symptoms.
The testing is by nasal swab. Judith Smith, director of the Port Arthur Health Department said the swab is inserted halfway between the entrance of the nasal and the ear. Mucus is removed and then sealed to be sent to a lab.
“It does not hurt, but it may be a little uncomfortable,” she said.
Step 3 is talking to health department officials, who will collect information about the person, where they have been, and people they have had contact with.
-Margaret Toal, KOGT-